Should I Use Studded Winter Tires?
When I was posted to Fort St. John detachment, the decision was easy, our family car had four studded winter tires. Once I was transferred to Penticton, these tires went with the car when we traded it in and we used all season tires throughout the year.
Now that we live on Vancouver Island, we've come full circle and just purchased a set of four studded winter tires. Compared to the rest of the province, much of the lower mainland and Vancouver Island might be considered almost tropical in the winter months. Why would one even consider using winter tires instead of all season tires, much less invest in tire studs for them?
It turns out that studded tires can be very useful. Tests conducted in Finland in 2003 on a variety of winter road surfaces using a number of major tire brands found that studded winter tires were superior to studless winter tires or all season tires in all conditions including, ice, snow, slush and wet pavement. They failed in only one area, running quietly on dry pavement.
The most deceptive winter driving condition is black ice. It is under these very treacherous conditions, when drivers are unknowingly driving close to the limit of adhesion, that the extra friction provided by studded tires can prove to be a real life saver. Does this sound like all roads anywhere in British Columbia at some time during the winter?